Well, here we go again; another recap of another chapter that could, for the most part, have been cut from the book and little to nothing would have been any different, aside from possibly better. I can’t believe we’re not even halfway through this book yet. Actually, let me rephrase that – I simultaneously can’t believe we’re not even halfway through this book yet, since I can’t imagine what Meyer can possibly fill another 35 chapters with, and I can’t believe that we’re almost halfway through the book and still haven’t found a decent plot yet. I’m so happy I decided to do this.
“Another week passed, maybe two – there seemed little point in keeping track of time here, where it was so irrelevant…”
That’s the first line of this chapter. Well, part of it, anyway. Anyone see the problem here? In case you don’t, here it is: Jared is gone. Jared will be gone for a few weeks. After a few weeks, Jared will return. Jared returning is incredibly relevant, because his return will either bring with it joy because he’s back, or horrible, horrible badness because he still hates Wanda and will find out she’s been sleeping in his bed since he’s been gone, and is integrated into their society now. Most likely the latter, with a bit of Stryder’s stupidity filled joy because she never seems to show up unless it’s stupid anymore.
So…pretty sure Wanda would have a really good fucking reason to be keeping track of time, either out of fear or out of longing for Jared. One or the other. She’s been so paranoid and worried about shit that showed no signs of being bad before, and she had a complete fucking breakdown when Jared left, yet now she sees no point in worrying or even thinking about how close she is or is not to Jared’s return, because consistency. Keep track, Wanda. You’ll want to know when he’s coming back, and you have no way to even guess at that aside from counting the weeks and hoping he takes as long as you were told he would.
After that, we get a paragraph about what Wanda has done for work in the last week or two, who she’s done it with, and how hard she’s worked to try to be less of a burden. Oh, Wanda, don’t you worry your pretty little head about that; you’re always a burden to me!
That paragraph is followed by an entire goddamn page of Meyer outlining the names of other people in the cave, their connections to each other and where they’re from, and I don’t see why we should give a shit about any of this, since just listing it all off this way is not going to make us, as the readers, retain any of this information. You need to introduce these characters in a way that makes them memorable, Meyer, not just give us vague descriptions of them and expect us to remember who they are later, because we definitely won’t. Seriously, learn to write. And I’m not even going to get into how clichéd it is to name the baby born in the cave after the invasion ‘Freedom’. Just…fuck you. We’ll leave it at that.
The only part of that section that I liked was when she talks about a guy named Walter who has cancer, and how sad she (Wanda) is to have to watch him die from “something so easily fixed“, and the only reason I liked that was because all I could picture the whole time I read it was Walter White from Breaking Bad. Not because Meyer described him in a way that was similar to Walter White (because she didn’t), but because his name is Walter, he has cancer, and I NEED SOMETHING TO GET ME THROUGH, GODDAMMIT. If she’s not going to entertain me, you can’t blame me for trying to entertain myself, so if I choose to see one of the cave dwellers as a badass drug lord, I WILL DO THAT. Let me have this.
Annnd after that we get to learn who Wanda’s neighbours are, and what kind of material each one (or pair!) has covering the opening of their bedroom. Fucking riveting, I swear. It just gets better and better. But what the hell is all this shit about how Ian bunked with Wes for the first two nights she was sleeping in that corridor before moving back to his room (since his room was in the same corridor)? She says he did it to protest her presence there, but how the hell does that make sense?
Let’s recap here. When Jared and Ian realized Wanderer knew who the Seeker in black was, Ian attempted to get Jared to back down from yelling at her, admitted he felt guilty about seeing the bruises on her neck, told Jeb information that led to him getting rid of Jared for a while but keeping Ian, which obviously means Ian had no animosity toward her when he talked to Jeb, followed along with the tour Jeb took Wanda on and again seemed to have no animosity toward her, just curiosity, worked with her and helped her work, told her she looked good (essentially), and has since guarded her because he doesn’t think that Jeb is even protecting her well enough. So why the hell would he leave his room to protest her presence? He’s part of the reason she’s up there! That makes no fucking sense, Meyer! Wtf??
The worst part is she didn’t even need to add that in, because Ian ended up back in his own room after only two nights. If he was going to end up there anyway, why the hell did he ever leave? Just so you didn’t have to deal with anyone else entering the corridor during your incredibly fucking interesting stories about the other alien planets and all that shit? “Oh, Wanda, Jeb and Jamie need their alone time, so I’ll make up some fucking BULLSHIT reason as to why no one else shows up there, even if it’s fucking OBVIOUS that it’s completely fucking stupid!”
Meyer wants you to view Ian as a good guy, so he’s gotta be nice to Wanderer and have her back, and he has to have a room near hers for eventual plot convenience, I assume, but he also has to GTFO in order for her story to go the way she wants it to for those few completely fucking pointless chapters, so she’s gotta pull this kind of crap. God, Meyer, seriously, you are the worst author ever.
Blah, blah, blah, people left their rooms because they were scared of her but now they’re back, here are all their names and inane fucking details, and now we learn that Doc and Sharon are apparently an item, and that the two of them and Maggie are the only ones who haven’t returned to their rooms down the hall. So…everyone important to the plot except Jeb lives in one hallway, even though there are supposedly other bedrooms beyond what is just there. Yep, it’s definitely all about plot convenience.
But come on now; how can Doc and Sharon be ‘partnered’, yet Doc is looking out for Wanda and trying to keep her safe with Ian, but Sharon hates her? They would not be partnered for long! At least not without a lot of problems. Ahh, here comes dramafest; I can feel it now. Except it’s not interesting drama, of course, since it’s this book.
Anyway, there’s some talk about how Sharon has become more like her mother, which I take to mean “more of a bitch”, especially since she’s not ‘softened by new love’ like Wanda thinks she should be (because she understands so much of love and relationships, given a couple of chapters ago she was just for the first time ever experiencing jealousy, supposedly), and more about how Sharon and Maggie still hate her face.
Then we find out that Stryder’s ‘death’ was not a waste because after Jared got Stryder’s note, he and Jamie went to look for Sharon themselves, eventually finding her and Maggie and, after being threatened by Maggie briefly, deciphering Jeb’s ‘riddle’ with them and subsequently finding the caves. Y’know, even though Stryder figured it out too, and ended up going the wrong way and almost dying in the desert…so…not sure how the same info got the rest of them to the right place, but whatever.
I have to say, though, that I still think that Stryder’s ‘death’ was a waste, since Jared and Jamie clearly could have either gone with her to find Sharon or done it without her and achieved their goal just fine, not to mention that they found Sharon and Maggie, convinced them to trust them, figured out the riddle and traveled to the caves all before Wanderer ever left Chicago. It doesn’t seem like Wanderer spent much time in Chicago, so apparently Jamie, Jared, Maggie and Sharon worked VERY quickly, so it was really just a complete waste that Stryder died. Though I guess they’re only thinking it would be a waste if Sharon hadn’t actually been in Chicago, in which case, okay, I’ll let you have that it wasn’t. Even though it totally was.
Wanda addresses how little Stryder has shown up in the past few chapters by saying that Stryder is always present when she and Jamie speak of her, but that she doesn’t really speak to Wanda anymore unless she’s trying to talk for Jamie’s sake. The explanation for this is that Stryder doesn’t have anything she wants to say badly enough to make the effort to do so, since it’s so hard for her to talk. I don’t buy that, given some of the things she’s bothered to say before, and at times when it would have been so much harder on her do so, especially if any energy is required for that, but meh, there’s your answer. Come back, please, Stryder; I don’t want to live with Wanda anymore.
Jamie asks if Wanda thinks Stryder will ever go away for good and DEAR GOD PLEASE NO, THE HOPE OF HER COMING BACK IS ALL I HAVE!!! …Excuse me. *ahem* Wanda says she doesn’t know, but she hopes not, and before we get into Jamie’s next question, what the fuck is this shit?
“I was not a liar, and I don’t think I could have lied to Jamie if I were.”
Yes. You. Fucking. Are. You have lied SO MANY GODDAMN TIMES in this book, you just don’t classify them as lies because it’s not convenient to you to do so! Just because you don’t want to BELIEVE you’ve lied doesn’t mean you haven’t! You definitely fucking have! So stop fucking saying this!
I’m not going to even get into the whole love and maternal instinct bullshit she spews after that line. It is just noooot worth it. So Jamie asks if Wanda likes Stryder, and if she used to hate her, but he does so in an unbelievably childlike fashion, which isn’t fitting for his age, but anyway. Wanda reveals she’s never hated Stryder, just was afraid of her and angry that Stryder’s presence meant she couldn’t be like the rest of the aliens, but that she admired Stryder nonetheless for her strength. Wanda, you could NOT have made that less obvious. The fact that you were constantly a bitch to her (and probably still would be if she was ever in the book anymore) really did not indicate that you admired her at all. You might want to work on that.
Jamie is surprised that Wanda was afraid of Stryder, so Wanda recounts one of Stryder’s memories to prove that Stryder can be scary, and it’s supposed to be one of those awwww bonding moments, because they’re laughing and whatever the shit, but then Meyer VERY abruptly completely changes gears and starts talking about how eager Wanda was to keep the peace with everyone and thought she would do anything to do that, but she was wrong. That has absolutely nothing to do with the conversation with Jamie.
What happened here? Was the chapter supposed to end, or was there supposed to be a section break? It just went from Wanda distracting Jamie from a painful question to this stuff about keeping the peace, and then we’re in an entirely new scene with Jeb on a different day that is perhaps even up to two weeks later. As short as it would make chapter 25, it really feels like a new chapter was supposed to begin here, but instead it just got tacked on to 25 without even a section break. Can Meyer do ANYTHING right?? And was this book edited AT ALL?
Regardless, here we are with Jeb, and he’s asking Wanda to teach her alien shit to the others in the cave because it’s ‘for the greater good’ and it would be a waste to squander an opportunity for them all to learn more about the universe and the ‘new tenants of the planet’. Wanda turns him down, of course, because she doesn’t think anyone wants to learn from her, and she doesn’t want to piss off Sharon any more than she already has. She feels sooo baaaad because she’s never refused a Calling before, even though this isn’t a Calling so that’s not relevant, but she thinks it’s suicidal so she won’t do it. Thank you, Wanda. This is the best decision you’ve made yet.
Wanda doesn’t see the point in teaching the humans anything since it’s too late for them to fight back and she doesn’t know anything that could take the aliens out, but Jeb says it’s never too late while they’re still there, and that he wasn’t looking for a way to take the aliens out anyway, he just thinks they should all know more about the world they live in.
Even though Jeb has just explained that he’s not looking for a super-weapon or anything, Wanda keeps going on about how she can’t give him anything like that because the aliens don’t have any great weaknesses, and there’s no one in space that hates them enough to come to the aid of the humans. That, too, I find hard to believe, because the humans can’t be the first who didn’t agree with what the aliens do (in fact, we know they weren’t), so there’s got to be someone out there who’d like to see them dead.
That’s not important, though, since Jeb wasn’t looking for anything like that anyway, and just SAID that, so he basically shrugs off that information and tells her she might be surprised how much people might want her stories since it’s so boring there.
Then it’s mealtime, apparently, since we’re hearing about where people sit at meals, and Wanda is thinking about how Ian is her self-appointed bodyguard and how weird that is, and yeah it sure as fuck is weird if he was protesting you by sleeping down the hall earlier in this chapter, but hey, there it is. It’s a few days after Jeb asked Wanda to teach them, so we missed another section break I’d say, and Doc comes over to sit with Wanda even though his girlfriend is right fucking there and won’t even turn around to look at Wanda because she’s so angry about her very presence, so Doc can expect to find his balls chopped off later in the evening, I’d guess.
Blah blah blah, more filler, small talk between Doc and Jamie, and then Doc asks Wanda which of the species from the different planets she’s been to were most like humans, physically. Ohhh joy of joys; here we go again. Wanda asks why he wants to know, he explains that he’s curious about the Healers and how they get the knowledge to cure instead of just treat symptoms, and Meyer feels the need to make it incredibly obvious that Doc is talking loudly enough for everyone to hear, and that they ARE hearing, because we couldn’t have already guessed that by all the lead up.
Wanda goes on about the Bears on the Mists Planet at this point, and when she gets into the bit about them needing creative outlets she passes it over to Jamie to explain, who excitedly starts to tell everyone about the Bears’ hands and how ABSOLUTELY FUCKING STUPID they are. Except he thinks they’re awesome. Apparently, these Bears create ice sculptures.
Yep. Ice sculptures. I don’t even know where to start with this. They make cities of ice, and the ice is filled with rainbows. Seriously, I don’t think Meyer understands who her target audience is here. We are not fucking children. I just…I can’t. I can’t say any more about this. I just can’t. You have horrible claw beasts on the same planet as rainbow ice sculpting bears that have hands that flex in both directions and are soft on one side and covered with razors on the others, and who wants to bet they don’t look anything like bears beyond the fur, since that’s how it’s gone with Meyer’s creatures so far?
My god, this book. I seriously just can’t.
Thankfully, Doc changes the subject, asking how the Healers get their knowledge of the physiology of a new species when they come to a new planet, which is a good question, since we’ve asked that one a time or two before. Apparently the answer, as reluctant as Wanda is to say it, is incredibly simple: Abductions. They abduct people, take samples, and use that to tailor their medications, I guess. Yeah, okay, that makes sense.
…Wait, no, that doesn’t make sense. If they abducted humans before they ever came to take over Earth for good, then why did the Spiders have to do the first implantations on Earth? She made it sound, before, like the aliens came to Earth in Spider bodies at the beginning of the invasion, and they did the insertions in Spider bodies until they had enough human hosts to start doing the insertions with humans instead, but why didn’t they just abduct the people they wanted to use, bring them to their ships and use the Spider bodies to insert souls into the bodies of those they abducted, then send them to the Earth in the first wave?
Maybe that’s what they did, and I just read it wrong when she said the Spiders did the first insertions. That’s totally possible, and I feel like it must be the case, though I’m not sure why I’m more sure I’m wrong than Meyer is, when she’s been wrong so many times thus far. Still, since I’m not sure, I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and say that’s probably what she meant. In that case, it does make more sense. As much as it can, anyway.
Doc asks where Wanda’s kind began, and she tells him they came from the Origin, and Jamie mentions how special it is that she was born there, because apparently most souls from the Origin stay there. But…she just said it’s where the souls come from…so how is she special for leaving if so many others must have, if they’ve now replaced the billions of people on Earth, not to mention all the other planets they’re still inhabiting?
Or do only some souls come from the Origin, and those ones are the ones that don’t usually leave, while most souls come from somewhere else? If that’s the case, where do the other souls come from, and why does anyone come from the Origin at all? What’s so special about it? Why can’t any of this actually make sense?
Jamie describes the Origin, and it just sounds like a bunch of colourful clouds, so basically Heaven…and apparently it’s the only place souls can exist outside of a body for any length of time. He describes the hosts on the Origin (because apparently they still need hosts there, even though they can exist without them) as “really pretty” with “sort of wings and lots of tentacles and big silver eyes“. That sounds creepy and kind of cool at the same time, even though I don’t know what a “sort of” wing would be. I assume they must fly, if their planet is mostly clouds, but who knows?
Doc keeps asking questions, and as much as some of these are questions I’ve had before, I’m still bored, and wish this chapter would end. No more questions, please.
He asks if the aliens remember how the host-parasite relationship was formed, and she tells him that they were always that way, “as far back as we were intelligent enough to know ourselves“. There’s a sentence I hate.
Anyway, apparently the souls were discovered (presumably on the Origin, since they couldn’t exist anywhere else without a host body for long, and if they hadn’t yet learned they could bond with anything but the hosts on the Origin, they wouldn’t have gone anywhere else, especially since they apparently lacked the technology) by the Vultures (who of course don’t look like vultures, but their personalities are like vultures, so it’s okay), who were “not kind“. So, what; they were just like you? Attacking innocent planets? Huh, funny that it’s “not kind” when someone else does it, but totally deserved when you do, you hypocritical douchebags…
Somehow, though she completely leaves out how, the aliens discover that they can bond with the Vultures as they had with their ‘original hosts’. Wait, okay, so the souls presumably would just be in soul form, without a host, when they were born, since they know they can exist outside their host bodies and I can’t imagine they’d just be born in the host bodies, or else they wouldn’t refer to them as hosts…so how are the Vultures their first experience at bonding with a host? I guess they’re not, they’re just their first experience of bonding with a host other that the ones on the Origin, which means they are indeed on the Origin, so it must not be that strange or special to leave it, since they would have had to to infiltrate the other worlds they did.
So they all started on the Origin, somehow got bonded with the hosts there (who knows how), then were attacked by Vultures, somehow overtook them (using violence, I’d have to think, because there’s really no other way) enough to discover they could bond with them too (which seems unlikely, but meh), and then used the Vultures’ technology (which they didn’t have to implant their souls before, so that begs the question of how they ever did that), once they were in control of them to take their planet (ah, revenge; yep, these souls are definitely pure, wonderful and everything good in the world), and then “follow them” to the Dragon Planet and the Summer World. Apparently the Vultures were not kind at either of these locations either, so the souls decided that the nice thing to do would be to wreak havoc on those worlds a second time by infiltrating their population and stealing their bodies, while using the bodies of the aliens who had invaded them the first time. Ahh, yes, so kind. So, y’know, they kept doing it throughout the universe, because that was clearly the kind and necessary thing to do.
Annnd now we’re back to another question. How the hell did they implant themselves into anyone using either their original host bodies or the Vultures, if they needed to be in Spider form to infiltrate the humans? How did they ever infiltrate the Spiders without the proper appendages to do so? Or if they could have used other forms to do it with, why choose Spiders, which would be far more terrifying and noticeable to humans than other forms would be?
Also, did they take over the entire population of Vultures? We know they didn’t succeed at overtaking all humans, so how likely is it that they managed to get all the Vultures? And if some Vultures do still exist that they haven’t taken, wouldn’t what she said before about how the souls don’t have any enemies be another clear lie?
Wanda trails off in her story after mentioning how they explored farther into the universe (and by “explored” she means “body thieved at every opportunity”), realizing that everyone is looking at her except Sharon, and then Ian asks how long ago the things she’s talking about happened. She tells him after the dinosaurs lived on Earth, but before humans did. She says she wasn’t there, but she remembers some of what her mother’s mother’s mother remembered of it, which leaves all kinds of questions about the Motherhood shit again, but I’m not going to bother with it this time. If she addresses it later, fine, but I’m not devoting any more thought to it right now.
Ian asks how old she is, and apparently his brilliant blue eyes penetrate her as he does so, which obviously means something else will be penetrating her later on in the book, and I just creeped myself out with that sentence. Yessss.
Wanda responds that she doesn’t know in Earth years, because she lost track of her time spent in hibernation, but she is perhaps thousands of years old, even though she feels like a child all the time because of her host body. That’s fitting, since she acts like a child all the time too. I’d say that explains it, but it doesn’t, because she just spoke to having thousands of years of knowledge just of her own, not to mention all the knowledge she claims to have from her mother’s mother’s mother, which means she has the knowledge from her mother and her mother’s mother, as well. With that much knowledge, she should definitely be less stupid and more mature.
Jamie is amused by the idea that he’s more mature than she is, which is supposed to be funny because he’s her younger brother in this scenario, but it’s really not because even if she hadn’t revealed that she feels like a child, we’ve already seen proof that Jamie is more mature than her.
Annnnyway, Doc asks about the aging process for her kind, and what the natural life span is, and she says they don’t have one and that with a healthy host, they can live forever. So they do have to be moved from one host to the next when the host is about to die, and if they host dies, they die with it. That explains the desert stuff, I guess.
Wanda realizes the impact her answer has on the others, especially when Sharon makes a sarcastic, angry comment about it, so she gets up and runs away, even though Jamie tries to stop her. Jamie follows her and gives her the rest of the lunch she didn’t eat because she was too busy talking, because he’s thoughtful like that, and tries to make her feel better, saying he doesn’t think anyone’s too upset.
Wanda asks Jamie if Jeb put Doc up to asking the questions he did, and Jamie basically admits he did, but also says that if she doesn’t want to tell her stories, she shouldn’t, even though she seems to like telling them to him. Wanda says that’s different because he likes her (and doesn’t want to kill her), so Jamie says once everyone gets to know her they’ll like her too, and that Ian and Doc do, which she has to shoot down by saying they don’t like her, they’re just curious. Yep, that’s why they’re protecting you, bitch.
There’s a childish exchange between them, then they’re back in their room, and Jamie asks her not to be mad. She asks if Doc is going to do that every time she goes in the kitchen, and Jamie admits that he will, or Ian, Jeb or Jamie himself will. Wanda decides she’ll eat in her room instead, but Jamie tells her that Ian will ask her questions while they’re working too, not because Jeb’s making him, but because he wants to. It’s basically just all to say that she can’t escape the questions, so she might as well get used to it. But why can’t I escape the questions? I don’t want to hear this shit anymore! I don’t want her questioned every time they’re in public, because I do not want to deal with her inane stories anymore! Please, Jeb, let this die!!!!
Jamie compliments Wanda on her use of sarcasm, which she said she learned from them, since the souls don’t have negative humor, just “the happy stuff” (-_-), and then they have a bonding moment over her admitting that she doesn’t hate it there, since the implication is that she doesn’t hate it because she’s with him. Awww.
Annnd scene. FINALLY. Please, no more questions for her…please…god, please, I can’t do this anymore…
(See Mike’s take on this chapter at http://emptystress.wordpress.com!)